Sugar-Free Grain-Free Snacks Even Your Children Will Eat: Homemade
Healthy Homemade Snacks
I recently wrote a hub on store bought sugar-free, grain-free snacks. While they are very convenient, I think they lack variety and can quickly get boring. So, they are usually my last resort for snacks. Here you will get my favorite recipes of healthy homemade snacks. Be warned, however, that though these snacks cost less than their store-bought counterparts, they will require an investment of your time.
Maybe your friends are different than mine, but all of my friends on Pinterest seem to be pinning homemade versions of Larabars lately. I have examined each of the recipes so you won’t have to :) There are very few differences between them.
If you are not familiar with Larabars, you are in for a treat. Here are the flavor options you can choose: apple pie, banana bread, blueberry muffin, cappuccino, carrot cake, cashew cookie, cherry pie, coconut cream pie, ginger snap, key lime pie, lemon bar, peanut butter and jelly, peanut butter cookie, pecan pie, and tropical fruit tart.
The basic recipe for any Larabar is:
- 1 cup dates, pitted (don't be scared by this ingredient; it makes them great!)
- 1 cup nuts
- 1 cup dried fruit, optional
- cherries for the cherry pie
- shredded coconut for the coconut cream pie
- bananas for the banana bread
- Citrus Zest
Mix all ingredients in a food processor and shape into bars or balls or little animals or whatever you like. I like to press the dough on wax paper with my hands until it is about half an inch thick and use cookie cutters to make stars, hearts, and gingerbread men. Or when I’m out of time, I just use an apple corer to cut triangles and a circle shape. And when I’m really out of time, I just run a pizza cutter through my pressed out dough a few times to get little squares.
This is my favorite tutorial for homemade Larabars. She lays out recipes for each flavor of Larabar in an easy-to-read format.
Cookies and Brownies
Congratulations to those of you who have time to invest in sugar-free, grain-free homemade snacks! You get cookies and brownies!!
You will not be disappointed if you make these peanut butter cookies. I can’t make them fast enough. The only ingredients are peanut butter, raisins, salt, peanuts, and vanilla. They are seriously good. And if you end up on chocolatecoveredkatie’s blog to make these cookies, you should also take a look at her jack-o-lantern oranges.
These brownie bites are also delicious. They are sweetened with dates. Surprised? And since you won’t have to bake them, they take about half the time of regular brownies to make.
These Parmesan Crackers are addictive. I cannot make them late at night or I will eat the whole batch. I prefer them to Ritz and Club Crackers if that entices you to try them :) Technically this is a crouton recipe, but I cut mine pretty big, as you can see, and use them as crackers.
My kids ask for these nearly every day. They are made with 4 envelopes of Knox Gelatine and 4 cups of 100% fruit juice. The instructions are on the Knox packages, but just so you will know how easy these are, I'm going to write out the recipe...
- Boil 3 cups of the fruit juice.
- Sprinkle gelatin over 1 cup of cold juice in large bowl; let stand 1 minute.
- Add hot juice and stir until the gelatin completely dissolves, a few minutes.
- Pour into 13x9x2 inch pan
- Refrigerate about 3 hours.
- Cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make shapes.
Dried Fruits and Vegetables
If you own a dehydrator and actually use it, you are probably familiar with this snack. Expect to spend time cutting the fruits/vegetables and placing them nicely on the dehydrator trays. Once you have finished that, though, the dehydrator does the work for you.
Some fun fruits to try:
Apples, mangoes, bananas, cherries, and oranges. Dried cantaloupe and watermelon taste like candy but take a really long time to dry out. As far as I know, any fruit will work, but those are the ones we’ve tried. If you have tried other tasty ones, please let me know!
If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use your oven to make dried fruit. Just google "oven dried fruit" for some specifics.
Did you know that you DON'T have to buy fruits and vegetables in season to get the freshest and cheapest ones? If you are planning to dehydrate them anyway, buy a bag of frozen ones. Your taste buds will never know the difference.
Some fun vegetables to try:
Peas, carrots, green beans, and peppers. If you look online, you’ll see that people are dehydrating a lot of other veggies as well: onions, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers and zucchini.
Confession: my single attempt at dehydrating zucchini failed, and no one in my family (including me) would come close to eating my dehydrated kale.
Homemade Beef Jerky
I am still trying to perfect this snack. So far, my favorite recipe is here.
She does use 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup for a 3 pound roast. An the flavor is delicious! When I made this one I ended up dehydrating it for over 15 hours.
If you are a BIG beef jerky fan, this is the snack for you. But I will warn you: it. is. time. consuming. Cutting the meat into tiny strips took forever, then it needs to marinate and each strip needs to be placed on the dehydrator. Cleaning off the dehydrator took extra time as well.
If you choose to use a different recipe for beef jerky, check your ingredients carefully. Most of them call for Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce. Those sauces are definitely not natural :)
Cheap, easy, healthy, and portable. If only we could say the same about chocolate *sigh*.
Thanks for reading to the end and happy snacking!